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IBS - Do you suffer?

At Chemist Direct we want our customers to live full, happy, and stress-free lives. However, we also know that there are times when due to large amounts of stress, a change in climate, or other reasons one in three people suffer from IBS at some point in their life. We believe that this problem can be treated, and, better yet, prevented from happening at all when one understands IBS Symptoms. Following is information on IBS Symptoms, how you can recognise the problem and treat it.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a complex condition and it's often hard to diagnose what the problem might be. The following section provides advice on dealing with IBS.

IBS - The facts

IBS is a common bowel complaint, which results in a range of uncomfortable symptoms, including abdominal discomfort, bloating and pain. It is often accompanied by irregular bowel movements such as diarrhoea, constipation, or episodes of both alternating.

IBS can be unpleasant, frustrating and annoying, but don't feel you're alone. One third of all adults in the UK have IBS symptoms at some point in their lives, and up to 20% of the population suffers for prolonged periods.

IBS - The symptoms

It's difficult to understand exactly what causes IBS, and it can often be due to a complex mix of psychological and physical factors. However, there are some clear symptoms that can indicate IBS:

  • Cramp-like abdominal pain
  • Fullness and bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Persistent diarrhoea or constipation - or even a mixture of the two
  • A feeling you haven't completely emptied your bowels

Doctor's diagnosis

If you think you have IBS, or some other bowel complaint, it is very important to see your doctor for a diagnosis. They will be able to recommend the most appropriate treatments for you.

The condition and causes

What causes IBS is not fully understood, but what we do know is that sufferers often have irregularities of bowel movement. They may also have a more sensitive bowel than usual which may lead to the symptoms associated with IBS.

There is a generally accepted opinion that IBS is commonly associated with stress and anxiety. So, a particularly emotional or stressful period, such as divorce, bereavement or problems at work, can affect your digestive system.

IBS can also be triggered by an illness you've suffered, for example, dysentery or a severe episode of travellers' diarrhoea.

If you suffer from IBS, the symptoms can be affected by a diet that's low in fibre and high in fat and refined foods. The way you eat is also a factor: eating on the move and not having regular meal times will affect the way your bowel works.

Hormonal changes and menstruation can also exacerbate IBS symptoms.

Treating and preventing IBS-related diarrhoea

IBS-related diarrhoea is brought on by the irregularities of bowel movement ? less fluid is absorbed back into the body than usual and diarrhoea is the end result. By resolving or avoiding the problem, rather than letting it run its course, you will feel better sooner.

Knowing what triggers an attack can help control your symptoms. Try and keep a log of what you eat and what happened during the day, to help you identify what might set off your symptoms.

  • A well-balanced high-fibre diet and regular meal times will help your digestive system work better. Try and avoid fatty and spicy foods - or foods you have identified as ?triggers'.
  • Eat little and often, as large meals a couple of times a day will be harder for your system to digest.
  • Try to reduce the number of stressful situations you face. This doesn't have to be as drastic as changing your career. You could take simple stress-reducing steps like making sure you have frequent breaks, not working excessively long hours and taking time out for yourself each week.
  • Exercise more, as this will both aid digestion and reduce stress.
  • You may wish to try therapies such as yoga or meditation. These help to reduce stress and promote a sense of well-being.
  • Advice on stress management can also be helpful to reduce symptoms.
  • In severe cases, you might find either hypnotherapy or psychotherapy useful.

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